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Tag: Paul Newman (1-3 of 3)

Leonardo DiCaprio and the easy money of foreign commercials

“I’m trying to make movies in my life … that last longer than opening weekend. That’s it, that’s my whole goal. I don’t have to make money; I do films for scale and then, you know, I go do coffee commercials overseas, and I make a lot of money so I get to live in a nice house. … And I don’t give a sh-t. And people will go, ‘Oh that’s a sellout.’ And you know what? F–k you.” — George Clooney, 2012

Clooney wasn’t at his most eloquent as he justified starring in Italian coffee commercials during a Newsweek pre-Oscar roundtable last year, but his blunt assessment captures the bottom-line truth that lures many Hollywood celebrities. Look at Leonardo DiCaprio, whose Japanese commercial for Jim Beam recently popped up on the internet and instantly raised eyebrows. Why is Leonardo DiCaprio, arguably the most famous Hollywood celebrity in the world, making commercials?

In the United States, when a famous actor appears in a commercial, there are fears that it can undermine, or at least cheapen, his celebrity. (For example, what was your reaction when Adrien Brody pitched Stella Artois during the 2011 Super Bowl? “Smooth!” or, “Oof, did he already pawn his Oscar?”) American celebs are more willing to provide their voices to a commercial than their faces, and when they do lend their fame to a product in faraway places like Japan or Italy, they often have contractual reassurances that evidence of the corporate relationship never makes it back to the States. (To which the Internet says, “Haaaaa-ha!”)

So why do they do it? Duh, money. Lots of it, as Clooney admitted. ”I couldn’t believe the money they were paying me,” the late Dennis Hopper once told EW, after popping up in an unusual TV commercial for Japanese bath products. ”If I could do one of these every year, I could retire.”

Dennis Hopper? Playing in the bath with a rubber ducky? Yes, that really happened — and David Lynch was not involved. But don’t look down your nose at him or the other celebs who’ve turned two days of work in Tokyo into a bucolic vacation home in the south of France. Celebs have sold their fame in foreign commercials — typically in Asian markets — for decades. Orson Welles and Sean Connery were peddling Japanese whiskey long before Bill Murray’s fading movie star in Lost in Translation went East for a quick payday. It makes you wonder what a beloved Hollywood icon like Paul Newman would have said about all this trading on fame. Fortunately, back in 1980, he addressed the issue directly. Click below for Newman’s refreshing take, and then peruse some of Hollywood’s biggest celebrities starring in foreign commercials. (Quick! Before their legal minions force their removal from the web!) READ FULL STORY

Hockey returns to Johnstown! Should they honor 'Slap Shot' with a new team name?

Minor-league hockey is coming back to Johnstown, Pa.

Fans of the movie Slap Shot will remember that the blue-collar western Pennsylvania town was the inspiration and the setting for the 1977 Paul Newman movie, which glorified the sport’s lust for fighting and introduced the bespectacled Hanson brothers, who weren’t afraid of starting brawls — occasionally before the opening puck was dropped. Newman played the wily player/coach of the Charlestown Chiefs — a barely fictionalized version of the real-life Johnstown Jets — and much of the movie’s on-ice action was filmed at the city’s 4,000-seat Cambria County War Memorial Arena.

Last week, local officials announced that the Alaska Avalanche of the North American Hockey League would be moving into the War Memorial next season, giving hope to local fans that they’ll soon be able to root for a team with Jets or Chiefs plastered across their sweaters. Alas, those team names were quickly nixed today. “[The Janesville] Jets are in the league already,” principal owner Jim Bouchard said at a press conference. “We did approach to try to get the Chiefs name back. We can’t get the Chiefs name back because it’s owned by the ECHL.”

So what should they call the new Johnstown hockey franchise? They’ve got to nod to the movie somehow, don’t they? “Some of the names that are coming out are legacy-type names that the Johnstown folks will be happy with versus some crazy new name,” Bouchard said, according to the Johnstown Tribune-Democrat. A decision is expected in the next five days. Vote below for your choice. READ FULL STORY

Stars gather for Serious Fun at 'A Celebration of Paul Newman's Dream'

The invitation to “kick back and raise a little hell” echoed throughout the night at “A Celebration of Paul Newman’s Dream,” the fundraiser for Newman’s Serious Fun Children’s Network (formerly Hole in the Wall Gang Camps). Indeed, it was one of the Oscar winner’s favorite refrains. Though Newman passed in 2008, his wife, Joanne Woodward, and daughter Clea Newman Soderlund have carried on his philanthropic legacy, which started with Newman’s Own in 1982 and extended in 1988 to the network of summer camps for children with serious illnesses.

Last night’s benefit at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall was full of big names — including Jake Gyllenhaal, Tina Fey, Elvis Costello, Trisha Yearwood, Jimmy Fallon, Paul Simon, and Josh Groban — but the night was really about the kids, who came from all over the United States and as far away as Israel, Italy, and Ireland. (Serious Fun has 28 camps and programs in more than 50 countries around the world, helping more then 380,000 kids in the last two decades.)

Gyllenhaal had his own memories of King Cool: “What I remember about Paul Newman is that, I was a kid who grew up knowing him more than anything as being on the cover of a salad dressing bottle,” he laughed. READ FULL STORY

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